Book Review: The Candy Shop War

The Candy Shop War

by Brandon Mull

This is a great book for pre-teens and early teens.  It’s an engaging story about a group of kids who find themselves doing increasingly more dangerous and criminally mischievous “missions” for the lady who runs the new candy shop in order to earn magical candy.  Of course, the kids eventually decide that what they are doing is wrong and try to back out of the deal only to find that things aren’t quite so easy.  That’s when the cavalry shows up to help save the day.

Like I said, it’s a great book for kids.  I enjoyed it, but most of the “twists” were predictable.  The story keeps moving, though, and has enough kid-friendly humor to keep the story mostly lighthearted.

Book Review: Under The Dome

Under the Dome

by Stephen King

This is a great story about monsters –not the killer clown-type monsters hiding in storm drains, but the kind of power-hungry type of people who take advantage of bad situations to elevate themselves while sinking deeper into depravity.  And Mr. King does a bang-up job, as usual, of setting the stage for the unleashing of the beast.  Along the course of the story, we meet some lesser evils, as well as a number of good, or, at least, salvageable people.  There is murder and mayhem a-plenty and the story careers ahead with a relentless acceleration into an inevitable inferno.

The page-count, over one thousand, may seem daunting, but the story really clips along.  The character development is top-notch and there are just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting without losing focus.  In short, Under The Dome is everything I’ve come to expect and love about Stephen King’s stories.

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Book Review: The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm

by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

In one word:  Fantastic!

This book, number 12 in The Wheel of Time series, is the first book written since the untimely death of Robert Jordan, the creator of the series and sole writer of the first 11 books.  Luckily, for fans of the series, Jordan had a chance to write a lot of notes and pass along orally to friends and family his plans for the end of the series.  After his death, his wife, who was also his editor, hired Brandon Sanderson to complete the series.  Based on the amount of notes, they decided this would happen over three books.  This book, The Gathering Storm, is his first book in the series and is a masterful work.  I’ve not read any of his other work, but he did a grand job of keeping with the style of the series.

Whether Jordan’s plan for the climax, or Sanderson’s style of writing, or a combination of both, this book picks up the pace of the story as it begins to reach its climax.  I found the book very engaging, which resulted in a number of nights spent reading too long.

In this book, we see most of the main characters, if only briefly.  A good deal of time is spent on the Aes Sedai and the White Tower and we get to see Egwene really come into her own amongst the Aes Sedai.  Rand’s growth and change were the most important parts of this book for me, though.  We get to see a young man with a ton of weight on his shoulders, the fate of The Pattern, it seems, and how he begins to lose his grip on his own humanity in trying to save the world.  And, at the very end, we get to see him grow.  I actually got misty-eyed when he realizes why he has to triumph over the Dark Lord.  Perrin and Mat make brief appearances, but are mostly being set up for (hopefully) bigger parts in the next book, as are Aviendha and Min.  Elayne is mentioned a few times, but never has a direct part.  Hopefully, she’ll be back in the next book, as well.

I know this isn’t the most informative review, but I don’t want to be the one to spoil all of the good parts for anyone who’s not read the book.  I highly recommend you read it, though… especially if you’ve been a fan and were losing interest over the last few books due to their slow pace.  The climax is on its way and you’ll not be disappointed by this book.

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